Links are the fabric of the web.
In this post I discuss the importance of link styling, and in particular, text links. I emphasise that link styles form a core prerequisite in designing a great user experience.
Users love well designed link styles
But lets not kid ourselves… users are unlikely to turn to their friends in a bar and say ‘did you see those links, they were hot’. No, but they might say ‘That website is great’. In many cases a website is ‘great’ because it is easy to use, with well designed, intuitive link styles.
Users want the following things from a link style:
- links should be easy to recognise : a user should be able to quickly and easily scan and identify links within a web page
- links should be responsive : links with hover states provide further visual confirmation that the text is a link
- links should communicate behaviour : if a link is pointing to an external site, than the link should be styled in a way that indicates this
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Web designers and developers have an increasing obligation to design and develop sites that are accessible. Almost 1 in 5 Australian’s have a disability. It therefore makes good business and marketing sense to ensure your websites are accessible. And then there is the law! Website owners are obliged to comply with the Australian Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Large companies are currently being sued in the United States for having sites that are inaccessible. Current companies facing lawsuits include America Online, Target, Southwest airlines. In 1999, the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) were sued by Bruce Maquire, a blind user.
I encourage all web designers, developers and website owners to read the World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act Advisory Notes provided by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
So with accessibility in mind, lets talk about Pop-ups!
Pop-up windows have been a big topic of conversation over the years, and it continues to this day. The consensus however among usability and accessibility experts is that pop-ups are not user friendly and they are inaccessible. I agree, for the following reasons: Read the rest of this post »